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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Two Tales of a City -- Part 2

Part 2

Lots of Realtors and other town folk headed to the Santa Maria Condominiums Open House last Friday to see the newly constructed complex. We were feted to sushi (again--but this time prepared by the sushi chef from Ambrosia Restaurant, cheese and pate`, shrimp cocktail shooters, crab-melon shooters, top drawer liquor, and sounds from The Bubba System

Two units were available to preview. The first was a ground level 945 square foot two bed/2 bath unit priced at $1,500,000. That's $1587 per square foot. The unit looks just like the artist's conception from two years ago. When you enter there is a sofa to your right and two swivel chairs, a cocktail table and a plasma tv to your left. Straight ahead is the ultra-streamlined kitchen with under counter everything. The bedrooms are on either side to the rear. The model had both bedrooms with windows just at street level so that Key West's homeless could easily look in to see who is at home. There is a semi-private patio area at the front of each unit, but it offers no real privacy.

The two story unit is larger in size, but the rooms are still small. The kitchen is at the rear and has room for 3 bar stools (same as the other unit--I guess only 3 people can dine at one time). The bedrooms are equally small, but this unit has 4 balconies--each with glass fronts that offer no privacy or room for chairs. The top floor did, however, have a terrific aerial view of the property and the Key West skyline.

The units have lots of marble, wood, and glass. All units are furnished exactly the same because they are part of a mandatory rental program. The management company charges a 40% management fee plus adds on all expenses related to guest stays. The decor inside and the exterior construction is definitely modern (ala South Beach in Miami) and totally out of character with the rest of Key West. But some people may like this look as opposed to the weathered character of the William Fleming House. And the Santa Maria Condominiums have privileges of the use of all of the amenities of the adjacent Reach Resort (gym, restaurants, and private beach).

I'll pass on this one.

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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.